The day I fell in love...with off-road racing

People often ask me how and why I got into off road racing. I guess I have to thank my friend Bill Holmes up at White Cloud ranch. I was just getting into racing in the 1980's and went to watch the Heavy Metal Challenge. I got into it.

I drove up to White Cloud ranch halfway up Kanan. Bill Holmes had a shop up at White Cloud. Rode motorcycles together and stuff. Wow, what’s this truck with these shocks in the back of it. Black Stepside Ford 1980, done a bunch of work to it, took me on a power ride, I had my feet on the dash, screaming at him “slow the fuck down, you’re going to kill us.” After a few corners and a few jumps, I said to myself, you know what, this is the most bad ass thing I’ve ever done in my life. I want to fucking do this. I’m sold.” It’s the way it all started. So I went out and bought a race truck at 23. I was working doing trying to do movie stuff. Went to college. I was going to college learning ceramics, auto mechanics and welding.

People were trying to get me to do movies and stuff but it just wasn’t in my heart. I was doing this stupid truck thing and I wanted to race. We took my truck and did the same thing he had done to his truck. Showed me how to do it and everything. Had a shop up at White Cloud.

I like racing across the desert. Something I was attracted to. I wanted to go desert racing. Many hours behind the wheel. Certain mental discipline. And I like the longevity of it. Kind of reminded me of my time at the ranch. But now I’m older, and I’m bigger. And I wondered what it would be like race in the Mint 400, Baja 500, Baja 1000 and I didn’t want to do it on the bike cause I didn’t want to race with cars, so I picked up the knarliest class there was at the time, Class A, full size pickup truck, 2 wheel drive so I ended up buying an old race truck, for like 40 grand, bill and I started prepping up, me did a couple of races then I had this guy Spirit,

Steve Spirkoff, came up to me, talked to me, gave me a spiel, said we’re looking for someone to prep the truck itself, and, race, and I go well, you know, Bill and I seem to be doing okay but I went down and looked at his shop and he was into hot rods and stuff, so I went alright, we’ll see what I can do and so I hooked up with this guy. He prepped my truck and everything else.

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"The reason why I love to engage in off-road racing is it forces me into the NOW - that intense alive state that is free of time."

--- John Clark Gable

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